These holiday hymns can also provide prayer inspiration.
Posted in , Dec 17, 2019
You know the old expression “The person who sings, prays twice.” During the holiday season the carols we sing often have lines in them that make beautiful prayers Here are just a few. Sing them and pray them all at once:
1) O Holy Child of Bethlehem!/Descend to us, we pray;/Cast out our sin and enter in,/Be born in us today.
The minister Phillips Brooks wrote “O Little Town of Bethlehem” after a visit to the Holy Land, culminating in a Christmas Eve service at Bethlehem. No wonder it’s sung far and wide today.
2) Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay/Close by me forever, and love me, I pray…”
“Away in a Manger” was first called “Luther’s Cradle Hymn” although apparently the words were not written by Martin Luther but an anonymous American author. Whoever wrote it, it’s a perfect lullaby.
3) Joyful all ye nations, rise,/Join the triumph of the skies,/With the angelic hosts proclaim,/“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”
Charles Wesley, brother of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, wrote more than 6000 hymns. “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” is among the most popular.
4) What Child is this, Who, laid to rest,/On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Don’t we have to ask ourselves that question, again and again? “Who is Jesus to me?” Imagine how the first visitors to the manger felt, called by angels to witness this sight.
5) Silent Night, holy night,/All is calm, all is bright…
What a poetic reminder of the silence God is ready to give us at this busy, crazy season. That heavenly peace, what we all wish for, is right at the center of Christmas, ready to give us comfort and rest, here in everyone’s favorite carol.
6) Joy to the world! The Lord is come:/Let earth receive her King/ Let ev’ry heart prepare Him room,/And heaven and nature sing.
Do you get a little giddy at Christmas? Don’t we all! Think of the joy you feel as a prayer, the heavens singing right along with you.
7) What can I give him, poor as I am?/If I were a shepherd I would bring a lamb;/If I were a wise man I would do my part;/Yet what I can I give him—give my heart.
This last verse of English poet Christina Rossetti’s “In the Bleak Midwinter” is my deepest prayer of the season. That I can give my heart.